This month, Sara offers advice on carrying babies on bikes

Q: I've recently had a baby. How should I carry my small baby on a bicycle?

Sara answers: It is brilliant that you want to get your child into cycling from a very early age. I certainly took my children on bikes, trikes and even a sidecar from when they were very young.

However I don’t think I would recommend what I did. I cycled on what I called the Maternitymobile which was a lightweight three speed I built up with very swept back handlebars so I sat very upright on the bike.

I had cycled while I was pregnant so it didn’t seem odd to cycle with a baby in a sling.

Sadly now cars are bigger, roads are the same width and so there is less space for bikes.

Anything you do that might make you less stable is probably not a good idea, and apparently it is illegal to carry a passenger on a bike without a seat for them. So don’t do what I did!

There are some excellent child seats which are recommended from when babies can sit up unsupported and have good head control. Probably from around 8-12 months old. This is the lightest and cheapest option. What is vital is that the seat is good quality and securely mounted on your bike.

Your bike needs to be in good condition with well-adjusted brakes and a fairly upright riding position, not drop handlebars. Some seats come with a rack which is attached at four points to your bike and the seat comes on and off the rack and you can use the rack with panniers when you take the child seat off.

Other child seats have brackets that fix directly on to the bike frame. Some child seats recline which can be good for longer rides or if a child is likely to go to sleep.

An excellent guide to child seats is available from the Cycling UK website, it covers a wide range of topics from safety to dealing with hot and cold weather.

An excellent tip is to put a sack of potatoes or something weighing the same as the child in the seat to check how your bike handles with the extra weight and practise before embarking on a ride with your child.


Do you have a question about cycling? Email and we will pass your question on to Sara


I have also been investigating some of the Dutch and Danish load-carrying bikes. These were not available in the UK when my children were small. Get Cycling and Cycle Heaven, both on Hospital Fields Road in York, stock them and test rides would be possible.

The advantages are safety with a big solid and very visible bike.

The e-bike versions with an electric motor can replace a car for many trips and can carry children and all the shopping. Disadvantages are heavier weight and more expense than a standard bike and a child seat.

A further possibility would be a child-carrying trailer, also not available when I had my children.

About Sara

Sara has been riding her bike in York and further afield since 1980. She initially got into cycling in Australia and worked as a mechanic in two bike shops in Sydney. When she moved to York Sara was a founder member of York Cycleworks which was set up as a workers coop in 1980 and she worked there in many roles until 2002. She rides one of her bikes most days and would love to encourage more people of all ages to ride bikes for getting around, shopping, commuting and leisure.